Easy Knife Block
To build one, you only need a 3/4-in. x 8-in. x 4-ft. hardwood board and a 6-in. x 6-1/2-in. piece of 1/4-in. hardwood plywood to match.
Begin by cutting off a 10-in. length of the board and setting it aside. Rip the remaining 38-in. board to 6 in. wide and cut five evenly spaced saw kerfs 5/8 in. deep along one face. Crosscut the slotted board into four 9-in. pieces and glue them into a block, being careful not to slop glue into the saw kerfs (you can clean them out with a knife before the glue dries). Saw a 15-degree angle on one end and screw the plywood piece under the angled end of the block.
Cut the 6-1/2-in. x 3-in. lid from the leftover board, and slice the remaining piece into 1/4-in.-thick pieces for the sides and end of the box. Glue them around the plywood floor. Cut a rabbet on three sides of the lid so it fits snugly on the box and drill a 5/8-in. hole for a finger pull. Then just add a finish and you’ve got a beautiful, useful gift. If you don’t have time to make a gift this year, consider offering to do something for the person. You could offer to sharpen their knives! Here’s how.
Indoor Hopscotch Mat
Blustery days don’t have to be boring for kids if you make them this super-easy hopscotch mat. All you need is a 10-ft. utility runner with a nonskid back, duct tape, number stencils and spray paint. Home centers sell utility runners by the foot. Number stencils come in a variety of type styles and sizes at art supply and craft stores.
The toughest part is getting the 10 boxes measured evenly. Our 10-ft. runner is 3 ft. wide, so each box is 12 in. long and 18 in. wide. Cut and place the duct tape where you want it and press it down firmly (Photo 1). Then tape each number in the center of its box (Photo 2). Mask off the areas around the numbers when you spray the paint onto the stencils. Let it dry overnight. Use beanbags, Koosh balls (shown), stuffed animals or other soft toys instead of stones so you don’t scratch wood floors or other inside surfaces. When everyone’s done playing, roll up the mat and store it for next time. If you’re thinking that the kids in your life need a place to store toys more than more toys, check out this project. These bins hold toys, sports gear and much more!
Yuletide Yarn Tree
Bright Idea: Want more options for trimming your yarn trees? Attach buttons, yarn or ribbon bows, beads, small silk flowers or pinecones, silver or gold charms, tiny tree ornaments or even costume jewelry.